Books for June

Here are some June publications all ready to pile up by the deckchair in the garden.

Jun Barton Fiona Barton The Child

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for 3 strangers, it’s impossible to ignore. For one, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her. For another, it’s the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be uncovered, And for a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth. Kate Waters, from Barton’s thriller debut The Widow, returns for another investigation.

June Craig  Amanda Craig The Lie of the Land

What happens when the metropolitan dream goes sour? Quentin and Lottie Bredin are about to find out when, unable to afford to divorce and having lost their jobs in the recession, they must downsize and move to a house in a remote part of Devon.   Mud, mice and quarrels are one thing – but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side.

June Billingham  Mark Billingham Love like Blood

As DI Nicola Tanner investigates what appears to be a series of organised killings, her partner is brutally murdered. Taken off the case, Tanner enlists the help of DI Tom Thorne to pursue a pair of ruthless killers and the broker handing out the deadly contracts. As the killers target their latest victim, Thorne takes the biggest risk of his career and is drawn into a horrifying and disturbing world. Thorne and Tanner were introduced in To Die of Shame.

June Barnett  Laura Barnett Greatest Hits

Cass Wheeler – a British singer-songwriter, hugely successful since the early 70s, whose sudden disappearance from the music world three decades later has been the subject of intense speculation among her fans – is in the studio that adjoins her home, taking a journey back into her past. Her task is to choose 16 from among the hundreds she has written since her early teens, for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits record, describing the arc of her life through song. It has been over a decade since Cass last put out an album; ten years since a tragedy catapulted her into a breakdown. In the course of this one day – both ordinary and extraordinary – each song Cass plays sets off a chain of memories, leading us deep into her past, and into the creative impulse that has underpinned her work. Barnett’s debut book The Versions of Us was a huge hit.

June Green  Jane Green The Sunshine Sisters

It was never easy, being one of Ronni Sunshine’s daughters. Publicly, she is the glamorous, successful, dramatic Hollywood actress. Privately, she is self-absorbed, angry, and a disinterested, narcissistic mother. Now in her 70’s, Ronni has had strange symptoms for a while, but has refused to believe her diagnosis: she has ALS, a degenerative motor neuron disease. There is no cure. Ronni’s three adult daughters – Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy – are largely estranged, both from her, and from each other. All are going through crises of their own. But Ronni is adamant that they must come home, and help her take her own life.

June Roy  Arundhati Roy The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness transports us across a subcontinent on a journey of many years. It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety- in search of meaning, and of love. Twenty years after her Booker-prize winning The God of Small Things, here is Arundhati Roy’s second novel.

June Raisin  Rebecca Raisin The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower

Anouk LaRue used to be a romantic, but since she had her heart well and truly broken her love life has dissolved into nothing more than daydreams of the perfect man. Retreating to her extraordinary Little Antique Shop has always been a way to escape, because who could feel alone in a shop bursting with memories and beautiful objects. Another visit to Paris from the author of The Little Bookshop on the Seine.

June Courcy  Anne De Courcy Husband Hunters

Towards the end of the 19th century and for the first few years of the 20th, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The incomers were a group of young women who, 50 years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world – the New World, to be precise. From 1874, the year that Jennie Jerome, the first known ‘Dollar Princess’, married Randolph Churchill, to 1905, dozens of young American heiresses married into the British peerage, bringing with them all the fabulous wealth, glamour and sophistication of the Gilded Age. Sparkling social history from the author of The Fishing Fleet.

June Gobi  Dion Leonard Finding Gobi

In 2016, Dion Leonard unexpectedly stumbled across a little stray dog while competing in a gruelling 150 mile race across the Gobi Desert. The loveable pup proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, managing to keep pace with him for over 100km. This was the start of a journey neither of them would ever forget that changed their lives forever.  A heart-warming tale that will have you reaching for the tissues!




Books to watch out for in May

Here are a few of the many books being unpacked in our libraries this month. If you don’t see what you want on the shelves, you can request books at the your library or online through our catalogue.

These two fascinating non-fiction books will be going on my reading list.

AMay Austen Lucy Worsley Jane Austen at Home

This telling of the story of Jane’s life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the way in which home is used in her novels to mean both a place of pleasure and a prison.

AMay Gray Annie Gray The Greedy Queen

This is both a biography of Britain’s most iconic monarch, and a look at the changing nature of cooking and eating in the Victorian era. From her early years living on milk and bread under the Kensington system, to her constant indigestion and belligerent over-eating as an elderly woman, her diet will be examined, likes and dislikes charted, and the opinions of those around her considered.

Literary event of the month is surely the publication of a new novel by the author of Nora Webster and Brooklyn. Here he turns to Greek tragedy.

AMay Toibin Colm Toibin House of Names

On the day of his daughter’s wedding, Agamemnon orders her sacrifice. His daughter is led to her death, and Agamemnon leads his army into battle, where he is rewarded with glorious victory. Three years later, he returns home and his murderous action has set the entire family – mother, brother, sister – on a path of intimate violence.

We featured Laline Paull’s debut novel The Bees as a Readers Group book. Now it’s time for that difficult second novel.

AMay Paul Laline Paull

It’s the day after tomorrow and the Arctic sea ice has melted. While global business carves up the new frontier, cruise ships race each other to ever-rarer wildlife sightings. The passengers of the Vanir have come seeking a polar bear. What they find is even more astonishing: a dead body. An electrifying story of friendship, power and betrayal

The second novel in the Six Tudor Queens series. Can Alison Weir offer a new take on Anne Boleyn?

AMay Weir Alison Weir Anne Boleyn. A Royal Obsession

An unforgettable portrait of the ambitious woman whose fate we know all too well, but whose true motivations may surprise you. Fresh from the cultivated hothouse of Renaissance France, Anne draws attention at the English court. A nobleman, a poet and a king vie for her love. She has a spirit worthy of a crown – and a crown is what she seeks.

Stories linked to My Name is Lucy Barton but this can be read as a standalone book if you haven’t read it.

AMay Strout Elizabeth Strout Anything is possible

Years ago, Lucy Barton, a successful New York writer, spent time in hospital, with her mother at the foot of her bed to keep her company. Avoiding the distance between them, they spoke at length about people from their home town, the rural, dusty town of Amgash, Illinois. Writing these stories, Lucy imagines the lives of the people that she especially remembers. And the people she has imagined that, in small ways, have remembered her too. For isn’t it true that we all hope to be remembered? Or to think in some way – even fleetingly – that we have been important to someone?

While you wait for Paula Hawkins new book Into the Water, here are two alternative psychological thrillers to try.

AMay Kent Christobel Kent The Day She Disappeared

Have you ever had that sense that you’re being watched? And you turn, suddenly, but it’s just a curtain, blowing in the wind? Or the dress hanging in the doorway? Nat knows something’s wrong. Her best friend, Beth, would never have upped and left without saying goodbye to her. But no one believes that Beth was taken – she is a fly-by-night, a party girl who can’t be trusted. No one’s listening to Nat. But someone is definitely watching her.

AMay Kendall Claire Kendall The Second Sister

Ten years ago, Ella’s sister Miranda vanished without trace. Now thirty, the same age as Miranda when she disappeared, Ella has grown to look dangerously like the missing woman. Ella becomes convinced that the man who took Miranda is watching her family. To Ella, this is an opportunity as much as a prospect of fear. It makes her more determined than ever to find out what happened to the beautiful and mysterious Miranda. Because who better than a sister to see what the police overlooked and to understand the missing woman?

The Hogarth Shakespeare series continues with Tracy Chevalier’s take on Othello.

AMay Chevalier Tracy Chevalier New Boy

Arriving at his fourth school in six years, diplomat’s son Osei Kokote knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day – so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.

And out in paperback this month:

AMay Ivey Eowyn Ivey To the Bright Edge of the World

Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska’s hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. Forrester leaves behind his young wife, Sophie, newly pregnant with the child he had never expected to have. Adventurous in spirit, Sophie does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband carves a path through the wilderness. What she does not anticipate is that their year apart will demand every ounce of courage and fortitude of her that it does of her husband.

AMay Essex Sarah Perry The Essex Serpent

London 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s controlling husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness. Retreating to the countryside with her son, she encounters rumours of the ‘Essex Serpent‘, a creature of folklore said to have returned to roam the marshes. Setting out on its trail, she collides with local minister William Ransome, who thinks the cure for hysteria lies in faith, while Cora is convinced that science offers the answers. Despite disagreeing on everything, he and Cora find themselves drawn together, changing each other’s lives in unexpected ways.


What they wrote next

May Jo

I was pleased to see that A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker has been shortlisted for both the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Jo visited Wakefield in 2014 to talk about her novel Longbourn and we loved meeting her.

May Susan

Susan Elliot Wright was introduced to us by Read Regional in 2014. She talked about her novel Things We Never Said. She has since published Secrets We Left Behind and her latest book What She Lost came out a few weeks ago.

May Sarah

Sarah Stovell spoke at the same event as Susan. Her novel was a historical novel, the fascinating Night Flower.  Her next book is a psychological thriller set in the Lake District. Exquisite will be published on 15th June .

May Syephen

Stronger Than Skin by Stephen May was published in March and there are some very positive reviews on Amazon from readers. Stephen was a guest at Wakefield Lit Fest in 2014 talking about Wake Up Happy Every Day.

May Caroline

Caroline Roberts started a new series after she spoke to us about The Torn Up Marriage last year. The Cosy Teashop in the Castle and the Cosy Christmas Teashop were popular reads and her next novel My Summer of Magic Moments is due on 1st June

May Laura

Another Lit Fest guest was Laura Barnett talking about her bestselling book The Versions of Us. I’m looking forward to her next novel Greatest Hits which will be published on 15 June. Will it have the same success as her debut novel?






Imagination Library

If you live in Airedale or Ferry Fryston and have a baby born after 1 September 2016, you could join this fantastic scheme. Come along to the Community Fair on 3 May to find out more and sign up.

SPP022A Dolly Parton Launch Flyer 0417 FINAL-page-0

Bath Book Bed

BBB logo_illustrative

For anyone having trouble getting a baby or toddler to go to sleep at night, the simple  regular routine of Bath-Book-Bed can be a great help.

To help families find out about Bath Book Bed and get ideas for great stories to share, libraries are holding special bed-time story times 24 – 28 April. So slip on the dressing gown and slippers, pick up the teddy and come along to snuggle up for stories!

Full list of story times taking place:

Airedale  The Square, Airedale, Castleford, WF10 3JJ
Storytime Mon 24 April 10-11am

01977 724040

Castleford Forum Carlton St, Castleford, WF10 1BB
Storytime Thurs 27 April 10-11am

01977 722085

Featherstone Victoria St, Off Station Rd, Featherstone, WF7 5BB
Storytime Thurs 27 April 10-10.30am

01977 722745

Hemsworth Market St, Hemsworth, WF9 4JY
Storytime Mon 24 April 9.30-10.30am
Baby Rhymetime Fri 28 April 10-10.30am

01977 722270

Horbury Westfield Rd, Horbury, WF4 6HP
Storytime Fri 28 April 2.15-3pm

01924 303060

Normanton Market St, Normanton, WF6 2AR
Storytime Thurs 27 April 10.15-10.45am
Storytime Fri 28 April 10.15-10.45am

01924 302525

Ossett Ossett Town Hall, Market Place, Ossett, WF5 8EB
(Temporary site) Storytime Fri 28 April 10.30-11am

01924 303040

Pontefract Shoemarket, Pontefract, WF8 1BD
Storytime Mon 24 April 10-11am
Storytime Wed 26 April 10-11am

01977 727692

Sandal Sparable Lane, Sandal, WF1 5JL
Storytime Wed 26 April 10.30-11am

1924 303355

South Elmsall Barnsley Rd, South Elmsall, WF9 2AA
 Storytime Tues 25 April 9.30-10.30am

01977 723220

Stanley Lake Lock Road, Stanley, WF3 4HU
Storytime Mon 24 April 11.30-12pm

01924 303130

Wakefield Wakefield One, Burton St, Wakefield, WF1 2DA
Storytime Tues 25 April 1.30-2pm
Storytime Fri 28 April 10-10.30am

01924 305376


Books to watch out for in April

The sun is out and tempting book lovers to enjoy their latest read in the garden. Here are some of the many titles we are buying for our libraries in April.

April 5  Arnaldur Idridason  The Shadow District

First in a new series from the Icelandic novelist introduces Konrad, a former detective bored with retirement.  When a 90-year-old man is found murdered, police find newspaper cuttings about a murder case dating from the Second World War. Konrad remembers the crime. Why would someone be interested now?

April 4  Lindsey Davis The Third Nero

The latest mystery for fans Lindsey Davis and Flavia Alba, every bit as good as her Falco series. Flavia Albia’s day-old marriage is in trouble – her new husband may be permanently disabled and they have no funds. So when Palace officials ask her to help expose a plotter in their midst she is obliged to accept.

April 7 Lisa McInerney The Blood Miracles

From the winner of last year’s Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction, described as a ‘glorious, foul-mouthed, fizzing new talent’.  The further misadventures of Ryan Cusack as he negotiates an unhappy girlfriend, a drug dealing boss and a shipment of ecstasy pills.

April 9  Fiona Neill Becoming Strangers

Nell Stone is at the peak of her career. Living alone, she is focused, refusing to let her personal life creep into her professional one. So when Nell receives a letter from Sadie, an old friend, she finds herself in the hardest position of all. Because what Sadie did to Nell years before is unthinkable, and unforgivable. But should the cost of Sadie’s betrayal be her life?

April 2  Claire North The End of the Day

Her debut novel, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, was a Richard and Judy piack and a big hit. In this new novel, Charlie meets everyone – but only once. Charlie gets everywhere. Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. Either way, this is going to be the most important meeting of your life.

April 3  Claire Sandy A Not Quite Perfect Family.

From the author of What Would Mary Berry Do? Fern Carlile has a lot on her plate. It’s a good thing she loves her big, imperfectly perfect family, because she’s the one who washes their pants, de-fleas the dog and runs her own business. A hearty meal is the one thing that brings the Carliles together – but over the course of a year, the various courses also pull them apart. Will Fern’s marriage be over by the time coffee is served? Perhaps she’ll give in and have the hot new dish that looks so tempting.

April 1  Nicholas Searle A Traitor in the Family

Francis O’Neill is a terrorist, trained to kill for his cause. Bridget is his wife, expected to be loyal and stand by her husband. She has learned not to hope for much more, until the day she glimpses, for the first time, the chance of a new life. A life without violence, without secrets, and without knocks on the door in the dead of night. A life without her husband. A second novel from the author of The Good Liar.

And a few new non-fiction titles:

April 10  Ian Mortimer The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain

This volume tells you everything you’d need to know as a prospective traveller to seventeenth-century Britain.

April 20  Cherry Lewis The Enlightened Mr Parkinson

Parkinson‘s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia, and yet few know anything about the man the disease is named after. In 1817 James Parkinson defined the disease so precisely that we still diagnose it today by recognising the symptoms he identified. Here, the story of this remarkable man’s contributions to the Age of the Enlightenment is told through his three passions – medicine, politics and fossils.

April 12  Alys Fowler Hidden Nature

Leaving her garden to the mercy of the slugs, award-winning writer Alys Fowler set out in an inflatable kayak to explore Birmingham’s canal network, full of little-used waterways where huge pike skulk and kingfishers dart. Her book is about noticing the wild everywhere and what it means to see beauty where you least expect it. What happens when someone who has learned to observe her external world in such detail decides to examine her internal world with the same care? Beautifully written, honest and very moving, ‘Hidden Nature‘ is also the story of Alys Fowler‘s emotional journey: above all, this book is about losing and finding, exploring familiar places and discovering unknown horizons.

The History of Afternoon Tea – Author Event

afternoon-teaThe Nom Nom Nom Cookery Book Reader Group invites you to join them on Saturday 1 April  2.00-3.30pm  at Wakefield Library. Cookery author and blogger Meryl White will explore the origins and the characters involved in creating this quintessential British tradition and what makes the perfect afternoon tea. This is a free event but booking is essential please.

To book:

Tel 01924 305356


The Nom Nom Nom! Cookery book reader group was established in March 2014 meeting monthly, whose members are interested in food and cookery and want to share experiences and recipes with like-minded individuals. Members of all cooking abilities are welcome, you don’t have to be of bake-off or masterchef standard to enjoy your food and cooking it!

The Nom, Nom, Nom book group meets on the first Saturday of each month 2-3pm at  Wakefield Library and Museum at Wakefield One, Burton Street. The book club gives members the opportunity to try new cookery writers, ingredients and experiment with different cuisines and share their results (and disasters!) within a friendly group.

Visit Meryl’s blog at

Hints and tips for storytellers | Bookstart blog

Storytelling can be a scary business. A bit of planning, plenty of practice and bucketloads of enthusiasm can make all the difference, says Simon Bond, Library Assistant at Pontefract Library, guesting at Bookstart blog

See more here: Hints and tips for storytellers | Bookstart


Poetry event


Baillie Gifford Prize




When international lawyer Philippe Sands received an invitation to deliver a lecture in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, he began to uncover a series of extraordinary historical coincidences. It set him on a quest that would take him halfway around the world in an exploration of the origins of international law and the pursuit of his own secret family history, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg trial.

Part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller, Philippe Sands guides us between past and present as several interconnected stories unfold in parallel. The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trial, that the man they are prosecuting may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, were remarkable men, whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’ in the judgement at Nuremberg. The defendant, Hans Frank, Hitler’s personal lawyer and Governor-General of Nazi-occupied Poland, turns out to be an equally compelling character.

The lives of these three men lead Sands to a more personal story, as he traces the events that overwhelmed his mother’s family in Lviv and Vienna during the Second World War. At the heart of this book is an equally personal quest to understand the roots of international law and the concepts that have dominated Sands’ work as a lawyer. Eventually, he finds unexpected answers to his questions about his family, in this meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations, and the haunting gaps left by the secrets of others.

Also on the shortlist were

Svetlana Alexievich, Second-hand Time (translated by Bela Shayevich), a book about the collapse of the USSR and post-Soviet society based on the stories of ordinary men and women.

Margo Jefferson, Negroland: A Memoir. Margo Jefferson spent her childhood among Chicago’s black elite.  With privilege came expectation. Reckoning with the strictures and demands of the society she calls ‘Negroland’ at crucial historical moments – the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the fallacy of post-racial America – Jefferson charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions.

Hisham Matar, The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between. Hisham Matar was nineteen when his father was kidnapped and taken to prison in Libya. He would never see him again. Twenty-two years later, the fall of Gaddafi meant he was finally able to return to his homeland. In this memoir, the author takes us on an illuminating journey, both physical and psychological; a journey to find his father and rediscover his country. 

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